ICT Tip: GoogleLitTrips allows your students to explore books in a whole new way!

October 14, 2009

This ICT tip could be applied to the following subjects:

Quick overview: The Google Lit Trips (www.googlelittrips.org) website uses Google Earth mapping technology to explore and expand upon real-world places featured in books and classic literature.

How can it be used in the classroom: Using this website, you can download various “Google Lit Trips” that have been pre-prepared by other teachers.  The majority of Google Lit Trips contain a teacher’s guide and Google Earth “placemarks” that allow students to explore the far away places that are described in a book. For example, Jerome Burg, creator of the site and an English teacher from Livermore, California, has prepared a Google Lit Trip with various “placemarks” for locations that the character Amir visits in the book The Kite Runner. To describe how Jerome uses Google Lit Trips with The Kite Runner, I’ve quoted an article featured on the Edutopia website:

“.. By clicking on a placemark, students open a pop-up window embedded with supplementary information. One window shows a photo of a bazaar, accompanied by a passage from the novel describing a musty marketplace. Another explains the cultural history of the Pashtun people and has links to additional information about Shia and Sunni Muslims. Most pop-ups include photos, maps, drawings, or text but also have questions to encourage students to think about the story. Exploring the placemarks involves active engagement that Burg compares with using manipulatives for hands-on learning in math. It puts the kids right in the middle of the story,” Burg explains, “rather than at a desk as the teacher teaches the story at them. Students can also add their own placemarks, highlighting locations or links that add to their understanding.”

Video Tutorial: Here’s a video I prepared that demonstrates what’s possible with Google Lit Trips and an overview of how it works:


ICT Ttip: In order to use the Google Lit Trips site, you need to install Google Earth. For more information on using and installing Google Earth, refer to my blog posting at (www.tinyurl.com/ict-earth)  In addition, if you’re technically adventurous, the Google Lit Trips site provides a guide to create your own Google Lit Tips.


ICT Tip: Quick access to images of various maps and flags of the world

April 14, 2009

This ICT tip could be applied to the following subjects:

world_mapQuick Overview: A website that showcases maps and flags from all over the world.

How can it be used in the classroom: Theodora’s Maps site can be used to showcase maps (links to maps) and flags (links to images of world flags) from all over the world. If you have ESL or Literacy students new to Canada, this site could be used as an icebreaker activity to enable these students to show the class their country of origin.  However, I should note that the maps on Theodora’s site fall more on the simple side.  They often cannot be “zoomed in” and are best used to simply situate the location of different countries across the world.  If you are looking for more detailed maps, please refer to the link provided below.

Additional Resources: For students looking for more comprehensive maps, you may want to visit the University of Texas Perry Castañeda Library Map Collection (www.lib.utexas.edu/maps) which offers categorized maps of the world that include historical maps, topographic maps, permafrost, etc.  (Source for Theodora’s Maps: Lise Demers, Place Cartier Adult Education Centre, Lester B. Pearson School Board)ict_10

ICT Tip: Bing Maps – Satellite maps even more detailed than Google

August 4, 2008

This ICT tip could be applied to the following subjects:

Quick overview: A website that allows your students to view extremely detailed satellite maps.

What does it do? Bing Maps (www.bing.com/maps) is a website that uses Microsoft Live Search Maps technology, similar to Google Maps. However, the amazing thing about Microsoft Live Search Maps is that you can zoom in and see VERY close details of streets and landscapes when you click on the “bird’s eye” view. Instead of just seeing the tops of buildings (as you would with Google) you can actually see the streets in different 3/4 views! However, the “bird’s eye” view function may not available if you are viewing remote areas outside larger cities. To activate the “bird’s eye” view, type in your desired address, and then click where it is indicated by the yellow arrow in the screenshot below:

ICT Tip: Wikimapia – Collaborative comment mapping

June 19, 2008

This ICT tip could be applied to the following subjects:

Quick overview: Allows your students to explore and make comments on satellite maps.

What does it do? Wikimapia (http://www.wikimapia.com) is a website that allows your students to explore maps in great detail (using Google Maps technology) but will also allow them to collaboratively create comments on the map.

How can it be used in the classroom? Your students may be interested in a class group activity about exploring places in their own community. First, they could research certain buildings or historical places in their community using resources such as Wikipedia. Second, using Wikimapia they could provide comments on the map that relate to these historic places or buildings in their neighborhood. At the end of the activity, the entire class could collaboratively look over the comments (perhaps on the teacher’s computer connected to a digital projector) that were made by the students and other Internet visitors on Wikimapia.  (Source: Sharon Peters (LEARN) Cool Tools Duel workshop.)


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